Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
From Vice Admiral Ozawa's diary with amendments in parenthesis by the Naval War College.
I receieved word that a light carrier (Bataan) was sunk by a dive bomber off of Guam. Katuka reports he is doing well against the Americans (losses were actually quite high for the Japanese).
Guam base was raided, but losses are light (the base lost most of its aircraft but a torpedo plane launched that night did sink destroyer Lardner)
I-55 reports sighting large American fleet headed to Saipan
Katuka reports major victories off Saipan (carrier Langley and destroyer Grayson were damaged in an air attack but losses in Japanese aircraft were crippling)
Saipan was raided, US air losses are heavy (Japanese were much worse).
(Unknown to Ozawa I-5 managed to sink the carrier Essex before being destroyed right after this success. Since I-5 was unable to radio in its success, Ozawa did not know until after the battle)
American landings at Saipan are confirmed. Takagi’s submarines moved to engage. Several were lost, but I-26 did sink a destroyer (Landsdowne)
An American submarine (Flying Fish) was observed in the Philippine Sea. Destroyers moved to attack but did not sink the submarine (Flying Fish escaped. In addition submarine Cavalla observed a mixed carrier and battleship group to the north on the same day)
Rendezvous with Kurita’s Vanguard. Weather is unusually stormy so the fleet moves forward slowly towards the Marianas.
Aircraft were launched at American fleet. Losses were high but 3 carriers were sunk (only carrier Bunker Hill was damaged) and a destroyers was sunk (it was the Sullivans)
Force B was attacked by over 100 American planes. Hiyo was damaged and Ryuho was sunk.
Vanguard was also hit, with Chitose damaged by a torpedo
(Cavalla, which was monitoring Kurita’s Vanguard, was sunk by destroyers)
Scouts report that Spruance has closed in. I launched a assed air attack launched with remaining planes. 2 carriers were sunk (Cabot was sunk by a lucky bomb hit, Monterey took light damage. In addition, Vanguard aircraft attacked and hit Enterprise but nearly all Japanese aircraft were shot down
Force B was hit by 300 aircraft. Hiyo was sunk after taking 4 torpedoes and 3 bombs. The carrier Junyo takes 3 bombs and cruiser Mogami takes 1 torpedo hit. Jojima must withdraw his force.
Late in the afternoon Kurita was hit by some 200 aircraft. Light carrier Chiyoda was sunk with 3 bombs hits and Chitose was torpedoed and capsized. Light carrier Zuiho took 1 bomb hit and cruiser Atago took 2 torpedoes and 1 bomb. Atago is still afloat but must return to a base for emergency repairs.
With Spruance so close, Ugaki asked for permission to make a night attack. I approved the decision. He penetrated the American lines but damage is unknown since contact has been lost (In the greatest surface battle of the war, Ugaki forced his way passed Lee’s battleships, losing battleship Musahi but managing to sink the carriers Yorktown and Hornet and the cruiser Portland as well as destroyer McDounogh. Yamato though suffered crippling damage and was abandoned. Ugaki died when the bridge was struck during the fighting. Battleship South Dakota was scuttled the next morning. The remaining Japanese ships escaped north which uncovered Ozawa’s fleet)
Jojima reports that Junyo was sunk by a torpedo (The submarine Albacore was responsible for this attack)
I withdraw north since Ugaki’s battleships are gone and carrier losses have been heavy. Saipan cannot be saved but the Americans have paid dearly. However, with 5 carriers lost and air groups taking 80% losses I fear we can no longer win a carrier contest with the Americans.
(Off of Saipan the destroyer Converse was lost to a mine)
I expected a lopsided slaughter, but this one had plenty of surprises. The Americans only real blunder was closing in as Ugaki’s battleships made some deft maneuvers. Although a Pyrrhic American victory, it is still a victory. Japan cannot afford to lose 5 medium/light carriers nor their 2 best battleships.